The Moody Blues’ Ray Thomas Succumbs to Prostate Cancer
I’ve mentioned before that the Moody Blues were the first band that snatched my confused adolescent brain and transformed me into a lifelong rock music fanatic. Today, one of the founders of the legendary band was lost to us, but thankfully, like so many of his disappearing classic rock compatriots, his timeless music will last forever.
Ray Thomas was actually part of the band that rode ferocious Beatlemania swells for the Denny Laine led, and totally un-Moodies-like hit “Go Now” in 1965. Oddly enough, that was the band’s only #1 hit… But more importantly, he was the fuel behind the reformed 1967 version of the band that gifted us with the iconic “Days of Future Passed,” the album that single-handedly ushered in orchestral and progressive rock.
On that album and for the next three decades, Thomas’s flute was omnipresent in the band’s innovative and legendary sound. It was a distinctive and comfortable Moody Blues trademark and a rare treat in the rock universe.
His opus was probably “Legend of a Mind” off of In Search of the Lost Chord, but there are so many other Ray Thomas tracks that quickly come to mind:
“Twilight Time,” Days of Future Passed
“Dr. Livingstone, I Presume,” In Search of the Lost Chord
“Dear Diary,”and “Lazy Day,” On the Threshold of a Dream
“Watching and Waiting,” To Our Children’s Children’s Children
“For My Lady,” Seventh Sojourn
All great songs indeed, but to me his legacy is the Veteran Cosmic Rocker Trilogy off of 1981’s Long Distance Voyager: “Painted Smile,” “Reflective Smile” and “Veteran Cosmic Rocker.”
The first real rock concert this scrawny, pimple-faced, teenage geek had ever scored a ticket for was The Moody Blues. During the show, Thomas shared the story about how an NYC DJ dubbed him “a veteran cosmic rocker,” and he decided he needed to write about it and it sounded like one hell of a life. The song is one of my all-time favorites.
Finally, in the last few weeks, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame corrected their most egregious wrong and elected the band into it’s lofty membership. Hopefully Thomas had an opportunity to enjoy that final tribute to the wonderful music he created.
This Friday, his surviving band members are scheduled to play at Orlando’s CFE Arena in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Days of Future Passed. As I sit in the crowd, somehow, I think that show may take on an added level of tribute as they honor their lost brother.
The house is full getting high
He’s afraid he’s gonna die
He’s the apple of their eye
(He struts, he strolls)
(His life is rock ‘n’ roll)
He’s the VETERAN COSMIC ROCKER
He’s afraid that he will die
When I started this blog, I almost chose Veteran Cosmic Rocker as my pseudonym, but figured that was an insult to the real legend so I settled on the probably more fitting Cretin…
RIP Veteran Cosmic Rocker
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